July 22, 2010

Slow Improvement, or Spinning Wheels?

Justin Katz

Little by little, we appear to be moving Rhode Island's political structure in the right direction:

A new law championed by East Providence officials has changed how its candidates and Central Falls' election contenders collected voters' signatures.

A provision in each of the communities' charters said voters could sign only one candidate's nomination papers. The candidate who submitted his or her papers first essentially owned every voter who signed his or her petition documents. ...

The matter was worse in East Providence because the charter also called for those seeking local office — such as School Committee and City Council — to get 200 signatures, four times the state requirement of 50.

It all seems so wonkish, but when these sorts of restrictions mount, they do create a significant disincentive to participation. The two questions, though, are:

  1. Are other instances of such policies being reinserted through the window as we shove these out the door?
  2. Are the changes happening quickly enough to pull Rhode Island out of the rut between balancing the budget and losing productive residents?

I'm afraid I'd have to offer the gut answers of: "probably" and "no even close," respectively. Although, it is possible that reform will accelerate from baby steps to a full sprint...

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It's a start. Now if we can only get rid of the pesky master lever concept.

On another election note, let's hope we don't have the Teamster's Hall for a polling place like we have had in the past. Unfortunately, the BOE has no problem with that sight.

Posted by: Kathy at July 22, 2010 3:46 PM
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